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What to do when someone dies

What you will need to do when someone has died will depend on whether the death is expected or unexpected, when they last saw a doctor and whether they died at home or somewhere else. 

Find out what you will need to do by reading below or by calling us.

At home, expected death and the person has seen a doctor within 28 days

When someone dies in their home, and it is an expected death where the person has seen a doctor within 28 days,  the first thing to do is to call their doctor. The GP can issue the medical certificate of the cause of death. A locum doctor or senior nursing professional can also issue a statement to say that death has occurred.

Once this done, you can call us to collect your loved one straight away, or you may prefer to have them at home for a little while to give time for goodbyes.

If you decide to keep the person who has died at home for a while to say your goodbyes, keep the room as cool as possible, to keep the windows closed and cover them with a light sheet when left alone (including face).  

If for any reason the Doctor does not feel able to issue a medical certificate of death, he will contact the Coroner - see information under “Unexpected or sudden death."

In a care home

Usually a member of staff will call the Doctor, who will then call at the home to confirm the death. The home will contact the next of kin or executor to let them know the death has occurred. 

The home will be able to advise you when the medical certificate of death will be available and where you should collect this from. 

The care home will ask if you want to come and spend some time with your relative. 


Dies in Hospital

The hospital will advise the next of kin or executor that the death has occurred. They will advise you to contact the Bereavement Office for the next steps you need to take. 

After the death the hospital staff will take the person to the mortuary. It may be possible to see them in the hospital Chapel of Rest. 

If the hospital doctor is not sure that they can issue a medial certificate of death then they will contact the coroner.

Unexpected or sudden death

If you are the first person on the scene you will need to dial 999 and ask for the police, they will advise as to what will happen next. Do not touch anything, it's a potential crime scene. 

When someone has died unexpectedly or the Doctor is not sure what has caused the death, the case will often be referred to the local Coroner’s Office.

There are many reasons why this may happen and they will almost always be involved if the death is sudden or unexpected, especially if; the deceased was not under a Doctor’s care on a regular basis; death occurred due to an accident or suspicious circumstances; death occurred during an operation; death was caused by an industrial disease. If an elderly person dies as the result of a fall in the last two months, this may also be investigated by a coroner.

When the Coroner has looked at all the appropriate evidence and is satisfied that the death is from natural causes the necessary paperwork will be issued to allow registration to take place. If the post-mortem results are inconclusive, if the death was due to an accident, or violence or was caused by an industrial disease then an inquest may be required.

The coroners will keep in touch with the next of kin.

When the Corner is involved

For more details on the deaths that are referred to the Coroner please click the relevant buttons below:

Care Home
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